Suspicious van approaching students walking home from school

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Bakersfield City School District and local law enforcement are looking into two separate incidents involving a white van approaching students after school. 

The most recent incident happened Thursday, Jan. 11 as three Sierra Middle School students were walking home from school. A male and female in a white van approached the students. The woman jumped out of the vehicle with a rag in her hand, according to the school district. 

A neighbor who witnessed the incident, confronted the woman. She got back in the car and fled the scene,  BCSD said.

The first incident happened to a Compton Junior High student before Christmas break, but the school wasn’t notified until last week. A white van also approached her as she walked home near East Bakersfield High School.

In both cases, the students took the right steps and told their parents who contacted law enforcement and the schools, according to BCSD.

After the incidents, letters were sent out to parents at Compton Junior High, Sierra Middle School and Garza and Harding Elementary Schools. 

The district also released safety tips for students walking to and from school:

  • Cross the street only at marked crosswalks.  
  • Stop, Look and Listen before crossing.
  • Use the “buddy system” and walk to school and home in a group.  Always walk with at least one friend
  • Immediately report anything unusual to parents, school officials, or local police.
  • Do not go into the car or home of a person without parent permission.
  • If someone tries to take you somewhere, or offers you a ride without your parent’s permission, loudly say “No,” and run away.
  • Do not get close to a car if someone is trying to ask you direction.
  • Do not take gifts, food, or money from another person without parent permission.
  • If someone tries to pull you or grab you, yell and scream to get someone’s attention.
  • If you encounter a problem either run directly home or back to school if it is closer.  

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